August 31 – Bluffton, Ohio – The Bethany Volleyball program (2-2) saw itself on both ends of hard fought matches as they split a pair of games in the second day of Bluffton University’s Sommer Center Spiketacular. Bethany dropped a 3-2 decision to Alma College before defeating Case Western Reserve University, 3-1, in the final match of the weekend.
In the first match, the Bison found themselves in a tough, back-and-forth, struggle with the Scots of Alma College and ultimately fell in five sets (25-22, 17-25, 25-22, 22-25, 18-20).
In game one, neither team gave any ground as there were seven ties and four lead changes over the course of the game. Two times early in the opening set, Bethany found itself down by four points (8-4 and 10-6). Down 10-6, the Bison then went on a 5-0 run to take the lead, as four different players registered a kill, capped by Lynsie Mandt (Columbus, Ohio/Worthington Kilbourne), which tied the score at 10. Bethany would push their lead to as many as four (20-16) before the Scots fought back to tie the game at 20-20, 21-21.
With the game still tied at 22-all, Bethany scored the final three points of the game, forcing Alma into three errors to end game one in the Bison’s favor, 25-22.
In game two, the scots opened up to an early 12-5 lead and never looked back, taking the game, 25-17 and tying the match at 1-1.
Bethany would fight right back in game three, coming out of the gate strong with a 4-0 run on kills by Jordan Fenner (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville North), Breana Harris (Severn, Md./Old Mill) and Mackenzie Lauber (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Mansfield). The Bison would remain ahead in the contest, but the Scots would fight back to tie the score five times. Once again tied at 22-22, Bethany put on a mini, 3-0 run which included a kill by Fenner and an ace by Kelly Becquet (Finleyville, Pa./Ringgold) to give the Bison the 25-22 win, and a 2-1 lead in the game.
After the Scots forced a game five by taking game four, 25-22, the Bison came out ready to play, jumping out to a quick, 6-2 lead in the decisive game. Bethany would continue to remain in control and put Alma on the ropes with a kill from Harris that gave Bethany a 14-10 lead. Needing just one point, Alma stormed back with four-straight points, tying the game at 14-14. The fifth game would then be tied three more times.
Tied at 18 all, the Scots got two timely kills from Lea Klooster to put the Bison away, taking game five 20-18 and the match, 3-2.
Offensively for the Bison, Harris had a great game, putting together 19 kills while Mandt added 10 in the contest. Lauber moved the ball around well on her way to 44 assists in the game. She also added three kills and four service aces.
Defensively, the Bison totaled 11 team blocks with Harris collecting seven assisted blocks and Dylana McKenzie (Hopewell, Ohio/West Muskingum) chipping in with four. Julia Mouch (Toledo, Ohio/Sylvania Southview) led the team with 25 digs, while Becquet (15), Lauber (11) and Sadie Davenport (Newark, Ohio/Lakewood) (10) all chipped in with double-digits.
In game two, the Bison turned their luck around, defeating Case Western Reserve University in four sets by scores of 25-21, 25-18, 18-25 and 25-16.
The Bison played great defense against CWRU, holding the Spartans to a .118 hitting percentage including a -.133 (6 kills/10 errors/30 attempts) in the decisive game four. Bethany totaled eight team blocks and were led by three assisted blocks each from Alexis Castro (Lorain, Ohio/Lorain), Mandt and Harris. Mouch added 15 digs in the victory and Becquet chipped in with 14.
Offensively, Harris led the team in kills for the fourth consecutive game, collecting 12 while making just two errors. She also added four service aces. McKenzie added her first double-digit mark in kills for her young career as the freshman chipped in with 10. Castro and Mandt finished with seven kills apiece while Lauber notched six and Fenner finished with five.
After a 2-2 weekend, the Bison will take a week off and be back in action at the Marietta College Invitational on Friday and Saturday, September sixth and seventh. The team will take on four more opponents, including the host, Marietta as well as Hiram, Ohio Valley and Tansylvania. The Bison will kick off the tournament at 4 p.m. on Friday against Hiram.